A water feature is the easiest way to cool a patio or verandah in summer, and it is a natural way to air condition your garden – it can bring down the air temperature by 10 degrees. “In hot climates the sound of water is critical in creating a cooling ambience,” says award-winning Sydney garden designer and author, . Peter almost always adds water features to his gardens, and believes it is important to consider the function. For example, it may be to distract from noise, reflect a view or add a calming influence. The addition of a water feature can enhance your garden as a whole. Landscape designers can help you with sketching out ideas, formally drawn plans and other details needed for council approval. They can also recommend the best people to custom-make water features and fountains.
Modern water features made of stainless steel are very ‘now’, while minimalist, sculptural pieces such as designs from the range are also very popular. Traditional pieces such as bronze statues picked up from antique stores never go out of fashoin, and suit a classic green garden, while Japanese-style ponds complete with fish and water plants suit larger relaxed gardens.
Contemporary water features are stylish, and made of sleek and smart materials that complement your home. Stainless-steel water walls are best suited to modern courtyards, creating a moving surface and cooling element. These can be installed in just a few days and can be bought prefabricated or made to order. They are easy to maintain, as there is little water involved.
A classic look
Classic courtyards and gardens provide wonderful opportunities to create something special. Features can include raised rectangular ponds, spilling urns, feature walls and water plants. Try an urn with an interesting shape for a focal point, which fills with water and quietly spills over the edge. Or maybe a bronze statue is more your style; remember to personalise your water feature so your garden is different from everyone else’s. A small pond will benefit from fish and aquatic plants. This will create a living ecosystem that helps keep the water fresh and the mosquito larvae down.
The aludean range of bite-sized water features includes minimalist pieces with simple architectural proportions that draw the viewer into quiet contemplation and create a sense of sanctuary. The range, designed by Australian sculptors Dean Colls and Lu Skacej, boasts wall-mounted pieces, small indoor and outdoor self-contained features, intimate tabletop fountains and larger scale water features that are made to order.
Water lily (Nymphaea sp.), Louisiana iris (Iris louisiana) and arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica), are just some of the wonderful aquatic flowers that are easy to grow in water. They do need feeding, so for long-term care add slow-release fertiliser every year. Water plants grow in individual pots that have been submerged; simply add decorative pebbles on top to help hold plants in place and prevent fish from pulling out the soil. They are available from specialist aquatic plant nurseries.
Points to remember
Children can drown in shallow water, so make sure the pond is in a protected area surrounded by a fence, or in a courtyard that doesn’t have easy access. Also remember that many water plants can become weeds. Check with your local nursery for suitable species.
A classic green garden
A simple bronze fountain of the god Pan is the focal point for the classic green garden pictured opposite, designed by Peter Fudge. Pear trees provide a dramatic axis to the water feature, while shading the outdoor entertaining area and screening the space from overlooking properties.
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